Natural remedies for chronic pain are not always as easy as just popping a pill. I have been dealing with chronic pain for years. Several years ago, I was diagnosed with something called myofascial pain syndrome. It’s a disease similar to Fibromyalgia but slightly different in how it presents. Basically, I suffer from chronic muscle stiffness, muscle spasms, chronic inflammation, and trigger points throughout my whole body and no one knows why. Oh joy, right? Basically, that means I am searching for chronic pain relief regularly!
Please note that these natural remedies for chronic pain are just things that *I* have tried. I am NOT a doctor and you should consult your physician before making any changes to your lifestyle or medical treatment plan!
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Chronic Pain in Women
Perimenopausal women are diagnosed with myofascial pain syndrome more than any other type of person. My pain definitely cycles along with my hormones during the month. Needless to say, I have tried a lot of natural remedies for chronic pain over the last few years. Some have worked. Some haven’t. I thought I would share with you some natural chronic pain relief ideas so that maybe you can feel better with fewer prescription medications. If your chronic pain is keeping you awake at night, check out my post on natural sleep remedies.
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Natural Remedies for Chronic Pain
There are many natural remedies for pain and inflammation. However, keep in mind that there are many different types of pain . Natural pain relief for arthritis will differ greatly from natural pain relief after surgery. Talk to your doctor and do your research. Here are a few pain relief methods that have worked for me.
By far, I have found exercise to be one of the best natural remedies for chronic pain. The more I move, the better I feel. Talk to your doctor about your physical limitations. Check out physical therapy with a trained professional. Get a personal trainer at a gym who understands physiology and your own medical issues. Then, just MOVE.
Home Exercise Equipment for Chronic Pain Relief
- AmazonBasics Neoprene Dumbbells: Ideal for fitness classes or at-home workout routines
- Superior Fitness 600 lb Exercise/Yoga/Stability Ball: Perfect For Home or Office Physical Therapy
- AmazonBasics 1/2-Inch Extra Thick Exercise Mat Great for yoga, pilates, and other workout routines
- Yoga for Chronic Pain: 7 steps to aid recovery from fibromyalgia with yoga
Walk, run, lift weights or do whatever you can to work your muscles. Light aerobic work that just warms you up is great for muscle stiffness. Strength training (building muscle) is also important. Yes, you hurt. I understand that getting up and exercising doesn’t always feel great. But I firmly believe that movement is the most effective natural pain relief there is. Sitting for long periods of time will only make things worse.
Let me just say that when I first started feeling bad, I tried all sorts of dietary changes. I tried going gluten free for months. I tried the Paleo diet because people said it was great for pain relief. None of them helped. I have come to realize that for ME, what works best is a whole food diet which still allows for indulgences when I feel the need. Check out my post on Omega 3s and inflammation for more info.
More Natural Healing Tips
- How to Prevent Lower Back Pain to Keep on Moving Every Day!
- Trigger Point Therapy Tools for Muscle Pain Relief
- Electrotherapy Pain Relief and Staying Active with Chronic Pain
Increasing the ‘good fats’ in my diet has been a focus for me because those are said to be helpful for people with chronic muscle pain and nerve problems. I have started eating lots of avocados, nuts, and seeds. Fish gets eaten regularly and I add flax seed oil to my smoothies. Omega 3s are important when dealing with chronic inflammation.
I eat a rainbow of colors in order to make sure I get a balanced diet. And I take a multivitamin daily to fill in the cracks. Some people swear that eating vegan is a great for chronic pain relief. Others say give up gluten and dairy because they are inflammatory. I say, try it all and do what works for you!
One of my favorite natural remedies for chronic pain is heat. I sit in the sauna 5 mornings a week and hit the hot tub on the weekends. A heating pad and cup of herbal tea help occasionally as well. Don’t overdo the heat or you can increase your body’s inflammatory response but when you are at your worst, consider trying heat to alleviate chronic pain.
I am hesitant to recommend any particular supplement because you really need to do your research and figure out what works for you. All supplements, even totally natural ones, have side effects so make sure you know what you are taking (check out my post on lemon water side effects if you don’t believe me!).
I find that supplements like turmeric and ginger help with pain and inflammation. Make a turmeric smoothie for breakfast or turmeric tea at bedtime. Try a ginger detox bath or juice it with carrots and apples. Vitamin B helps keep those muscle spasms and nerve twitches down to a minimum. Fish oil keeps muscle fibers limber and a multivitamin ensures my body is getting the right nutrients to function at 100%. Your body and its’ response to supplements will be different from mine but those are the things that work for me.
Supplements for Chronic Pain that I Use
- Curamin Extra Strength provides even more of the effective ingredients for powerful pain relief
- Solaray Organic Ginger Root Supplement promotes a healthy inflammation response
- Nature Made Super B Complex: B vitamins are important for normal functioning of the nervous system
Rubs, creams, and oils:
I have tried a million topical pain relief products. These include things like essential oils for pain, blue emu oil, tiger balm and several others. I find most of them to be temporary solutions, although some last longer than others. They are most effective when combined with heat so my current therapy involves slathering myself in something and hitting the sauna. I’m sure I smell great to the people sitting next to me but it works to get me moving in the morning! I found that Panaway essential oil was actually fairly effective, although not cheap. Your mileage may vary!
Massage can be one of the most expensive natural remedies for chronic pain but boy, does it really work for me. Find a massage therapist who understands physiology and isn’t just there to make you feel relaxed. For myofascial pain syndrome, you really need the massage therapist to put some force behind the massage to keep those muscles loose. If you can ‘t afford a professional massage, check out my post about easy tips for a do it yourself massage. The key is to keep your muscles limber and your body and mind relaxed.
This is one natural chronic pain relief that I didn’t try more than once. People swear by it but I ended up with a horrendous muscle spasm during the procedure that I literally had to do my labor breathing through in order to not cry in pain. I also bruised horrible and had no relief from that one experience so I was just not excited to try again. You might have better results and I know there is a lot of research out there about it’s benefits, but it just wasn’t for me.
I am always trying new natural remedies for chronic pain in case the next one I try is the ‘magic bullet’. Natural remedies are my first choice whenever possible, rather than taking prescription or over the counter pain medications. I still have to take them occasionally, but I find that I need a LOT fewer when I take the time to listen to my body and use a few natural remedies. For more information, check out WebMD. They have great tips for managing chronic pain.
Do you have any natural remedies for chronic pain that work for you?
(NOTE: post updated and content added from previous publish date)
Diane has a Bachelor’s degree in Microbiology with a Minor in Health Management and Policy. She spent many years working in cancer research, academics, and biotechnology. Concern over the growing incidence of human disease and the birth of her children led her to begin living a more natural life. She quickly realized that the information she was learning along the way could be beneficial to many others and started blogging as a way to share this knowledge with others. While passionate about health and the environment she can’t quite give up her favorite Cheetos and Diet Coke! Learn more about her HERE.